Welcome to our Blog!

 

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about our community and want to help you find your place in it.

Recent Posts:

 

Why You Should Change your Furnace Filter in Summertime Too!

August 8th, 2019

How To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

July 15th, 2019

Brigitte's Household Tips - A/C

July 11th, 2019

Garden Suites - A Solution for our Elderly?

July 5th, 2019

Should You Rely Upon Online Home Valuation Tools?

June 11th, 2019

Things to Consider When Marketing Your Property

May 10th, 2019

What Happens After You Are Fully Approved for a Mortgage?

May 9th, 2019

Lynden Hills & Brantwood Park Neighbourhood

May 8th, 2019

Curb Appeal & Real Estate

May 2nd, 2019

 

To search and see all Active MLS Listings in your area as well as those who currently have an offer and to create your own Market Report  click the link here:

https://www.propertyforsaleinbrantford.com/

Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

 

Aug. 8, 2019

Why you should change your Furnace Filter in the Summertime Too

We often think of changing our furnace filters just before the winter season, but there are many good reasons to change your filter during the summer. If you keep your doors and windows open from time to time when the air is cooler outside, then you will be drawing in allergens which can recirculate through your home once the Air Conditioning is turned on, if your filter is not clean. This can reduce the air quality in your home and if anyone in your family is prone to summer allergies, this may heighten their sensitivity.

Human and pet dust along with outdoor allergens can clog the furnace filter and force the system to work harder, creating more energy expended and increasing your monthly bills as well. If you have completed any interior renovations, dry walling, installation of flooring, or anything that has created more dust than usual, check your furnace filter and you may find it has gathered there.

 So how often should you change your furnace filter anyway?

The professionals recommend a minimum every three months. It is important to purchase good quality filters, or you may find they need to be switched out more often. If you like to keep the fan on in our home even if the AC is not running, you should change your one and two inch filters monthly.

One of the most common errors installing the filter is not ensuring the arrow on the side of the filter as indicated in the picture, is facing toward the furnace.

So keep cool and keep your air quality clean by switching out your furnace filter more often. I just changed ours here!

Furnace Filters

From my house to yours….

Posted in Selling Your Home
July 15, 2019

How To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

In this day and age of the internet, on-line banking and text communications, it is much easier for Fraudsters to get a hold of your personal information and perpetrate Identity Theft. This scam can have far reaching consequences to the victim and in fact can amount to huge financial losses, property being transferred without your knowledge and you being left in the dark until it is too late. It can take months, if not years to correct the situation and often times leaves the victim stuck with a huge financial burden after the perpetrator is long gone. So how do you protect yourself before it happens?

Don’t have documents with your personal information lying around and don’t throw them in the garbage where they can be easily picked up from the curb. Invest in a good paper shredder for home use. Make sure to shred all important bank statements, or anything that contains your personal information. If you need to keep paper copies of important documents make certain they are out of sight and locked away. Especially ensure all personal information is in a secure location if holding an Open House at your property.

Never give out your personal information in an email or during a phone call. Banks do not ask for your personal information in this manner and they will NEVER ask for your personal pin or log-in information.

Store your birth certificate and social insurance number in a secure place. Do not carry them with you and keep your Revenue Canada documents and filings locked away where they cannot be easily accessed. Think about what it would feel like to have your home broken into. What have you left out that is easily available to the people entering your home, with the sole intent to steal your belongings as well as your identity? Don’t make it easy for them.

Never verbally discuss your private financial matters in a public place where anyone can be listening. Ask to be taken to a private room if you feel your information is of a sensitive nature.

Ensure you change your passwords often for bank accounts and credit cards. Use characters, capitals and something that is not easily deciphered. When your Bank asks for you to sign up for their security when you open your on-line banking, be sure to do so.

Keep an eye on your credit bureau report at least quarterly to ensure there are no new open credit cards or loans that you have not personally subscribed to.

Title Fraud is real and a very devastating situation to encounter for anyone and can take a huge financial toll on its victims. The best way to protect yourself against losing title to your property through an intentional fraud is to purchase Title Insurance from a trusted lawyer. The one time cost on most residential transactions at $500K or less with a conventional mortgage, is $255 for the policy and $150 plus HST for legal fees for a total of $424.50 (in Ontario using FCT as the provider) which is paid on closing of the transaction and will cover such things as title fraud, past due taxes from a previous owner, former liens and encumbrances and more. Title Insurance will not protect you from Identity Theft however if the perpetrators manage to transfer title of your property illegally through access to your personal information, the Title Insurance will provide you with the proceeds from the fraudulent sale of your house.

In the end, it is better to protect yourself in advance, than become a victim. Take the time to secure your personal information at home, on-line and at work.

July 11, 2019

Brigitte's Household Tips

The summer is a great time to spend outdoors and I regularly take a walk around my yard to see what new plants are peaking through, or to water and just generally enjoy the space.

This morning while in my backyard, I noticed my air conditioning unit was covered in white fluff and it was stuck on pretty thick. It looks like it is snowing in summer, but it’s just the cottonwood trees dropping their seeds.

To keep your AC unit functioning efficiently, about once every week or two, turn the unit off and get your garden hose out and turn the nozzle to the jet setting. Give the outside screen area of the unit a wash down from top to bottom. That way, you will be ensuring you are not taxing the motor and will be getting the most out of the air being drawn in to cool your home. You don’t need to wash through the top of the unit, just the sides.

From my house to yours, enjoy these Dog Days of summer!

July 6, 2019

Garden Suites - A Solution for our Elderly?

I am often faced with elderly people who are well enough to live independently, but still need daily care who wish to remain in their own detached space as long as possible.

Did you know that Garden Suites are a permitted use in Brantford and Brant County? There is an application process, zoning change, minimum square footage and a deposit requirement, however if you can prove a relative is in need of care and they still wish to be independent, but nearby, this may be a perfect solution as they can live right in your backyard.

The homes must be pre-fabricated, connected to water and sewer/septic and are only allowed for a 20 year time frame at which point the structure must be removed.

If you have the space and a loved one who does not wish to be placed in elder care and you are able to help them from your home, then this is worth checking in to. If this is not a viable solution, there are many other options available. To be placed on a search, or if would like to look on your own, please sign up to www.propertyforsaleinbrantford.com or call/text Brigitte Shaw at (519)-755-7250

For further information, by-law requirements and the application process for Garden Suites, please contact your City or County Planning Department.

Brantford - (519) 759-4150

Brant County - (519) 442-6324

 

June 11, 2019

Should you rely upon online home valuation tools?

We all get curious and want to know what our property is worth, perhaps without the expense of a full Real Estate Appraisal which can run around $400 CAD and a Market Analysis or CMA can be free if enlisting the help of a Realtor, but some homeowners are hesitant to involve a Professional before they are ready to make a move. There are numerous on-line options, some that are free and some that will require a fee.

 

We decided to give a few of these tools a try and found a wide range of value for a specific property (as much as $100,000 difference). These tools can be tempting for someone wishing to get a ball park value for their property, however given the wide range that can be indicated, it is not advisable to base a major decision on the valuation provided from on-line tools.

 

There are multiple factors that determine the value of a given property and one is certainly location, the second is condition and of course the state of the current real estate market and whether it is a Buyer’s or Seller’s Market, will dictate value to a degree.

 

There are easy (and free) ways to get an idea of what your property is worth, by attending regular Open Houses in your neighbourhood or use a web site like www.propertyforsaleinbrantford.com that allows you to see all Active MLS listings in your area as well as properties that are under Contract and have an Offer on them. The site reveals per square foot cost, any price reductions, house size, beds, baths etc. The site also has an option for you to sign up for weekly, bi weekly, or monthly reports to stay on top the area in which you live or any other area of interest.

 

In the end, on-line tools are there as a guideline, however your final valuation should be prepared by a Professional in the field who can provide you with a report in writing, detailing why the value is as indicated and explain the differences between your property and the Comparable Properties in the Report.

 

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May 10, 2019

Things to Consider When Marketing Your Property

After 24 years in the Professional Real Estate Appraisal field (now retired) and Selling full-time, I have seen thousands of homes. I often heard people say “you must have seen some amazing properties” and yes that is true, however I have seen many mistakes over the years that I would like to share…

(1)   Trying to renovate a kitchen, bathroom or any major component of a house without the proper skill. You Tube is full of self-help videos that make it seem easy to do what most people would consider major renovation work. The number one reason people attempt to update or renovate their homes themselves is cost and this may not be the best policy if the end result does not reflect quality workmanship. The amateur renovation that you had hoped would increase the value of your property, has now become a concern to the trained eye, whether they are an Appraiser or an educated Buyer.

(2)   Unfinished or incomplete renovations are a concern for an Appraiser, Realtor or a potential Buyer because they are not able to see the work previously completed, such as whether proper insulation was installed under drywall, or the exterior siding. Or if the   wiring been completed by a professional and is it up to code? Who installed the plumbing and if there have been walls removed, is the building still structurally sound?

(3)   Allowing strong odours to overtake your property whether it is from pets, cigarette smoke, cooking, candles with a strong scent, or scented wall plugs. No one enjoys lingering in a property that has strong or offensive odours. These properties can be much more difficult to market or just less appealing, so they do not draw as many potential Buyers.

(4)   Very worn, soiled broadloom or wooden flooring can deter a Purchaser not only visually, but understanding the cost to cure if a large area is effected, that can be a deal breaker.

(5)   Generally unkempt homes or yards. Things such as dirty walls, floors and personal belongings strewn inside and outside on the lawn does not give the impression the Homeowner takes pride in their property. This often relays into a Buyer being suspicious that there may be other items of importance that have been neglected such as the furnace, duct work, attic and sometimes the septic systems in rural locations.

(6)   Trying to rush the Selling process without giving thought to de-cluttering and perhaps hiring a professional to stage your property. In my experience, most people ask for a candid overview of their home and appreciate the advice that their Realtor has to offer. After all, our job is to maximize your return on your biggest investment. If you think you are going to Sell, take some time to get advice as to how to present your property in its’ very best light.

Presenting your home

Buying and Selling Real Estate is a very emotional business. I liken it to experiencing a nice restaurant where you expect the environment to be clean and inviting and everything is in its’ place. The restaurant should have pleasant aromas and points of interest to keep you engaged and enjoying the experience. The movement through the restaurant should flow easily. Similarly, your home should be welcoming, fresh smelling, where people wish to stay and linger and a place that they can envision themselves living.

 

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Posted in Selling Your Home
May 9, 2019

What Happens After You Are Fully Approved for a Mortgage?

When you have carefully selected your Registered Real Estate Salesperson to guide you through the real estate purchasing process, a meeting should take place where you have the opportunity to discuss your priorities for your new home. It is very helpful for your Sales Rep to understand your budget, must haves, including style of home, size of the residence, how many bedrooms and baths etc. If you have any special needs such as wheel chair access, or require an out building, or shop for commercial use, this is the best time to let your Sales Representative understand your specific needs.

A unique feature at www.propertyforsaleinbrantford.com, is once you sign up to the site, you are able to search for property in your desired area and input budget, bedrooms and baths. You can also save searches and request a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly report that outlines all of the properties listed in your area, citing price, bedrooms, baths and square footage. A further benefit of signing up is the Market Reports will include any properties that have an Offer on them and cost per square foot is indicated. Not only is this helpful for when you are Buying Property, but also when Selling as you can keep an eye on the competing properties and watch over your most valuable asset…your home.

Once you have found MLS listings that meet your criteria, it is time to set up some appointments for viewing. I personally encourage my clients to attend as many Open Houses as possible in order to gauge what your budget will buy. If they wish, I am happy to go along. Finding that special place to call home can be exciting and once you are certain, it is time for your Realtor to write up an Offer for submission to the Listing Realtor. Your Sales Representative has the task of ensuring all clauses are written in the Offer for your protection including Financing, or Sale of Property clause (if necessary), Home Inspection and further conditions that allow you the security of knowing if anything comes up, you have a certain way to Terminate the Offer. A large responsibility of your Realtor is to ensure they are negotiating for the best deal possible for you.

If all goes well, you can proceed through the timing of the Offer Clauses and eventually sign a Notice Of Fulfillment that all conditions have been met. This is the day to celebrate as now you are SOLD!

Your Realtor will suggest a number of choices with qualified Real Estate lawyers, will ensure you understand who to call to have the electric, phone and internet switched over on the closing date and perhaps offer you names of movers too. We will continue to work together until you are happily moved in to your new home and will stay in touch long after.

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May 8, 2019

Lynden Hills & Brantwood Park Neighbourhood

Max Webster, who was a well-known thoroughbred horse owner, sold his farm to a developer and it is known today as the Lynden Hills Estates. Street names such as Sulky Road, Trotter Lane, Pony Trail Drive and Max Webster Court echo Max Webster's love of horses.


The neighbourhood of Brantwood Park and Lynden Hills Estates is bounded on the north by Powerline Road, Wayne Gretzky Parkway on the West and Lynden Road to the South. The east side of Lynden Hills estates marks the current boundary line between Brantford and Brant County.


The styles of homes in this area range from semi-detached, condominiums, two-storey residences, four level back splits and side split homes, as well as raised ranches. The price set of Brantwood Park and Lynden Hill Estates ranges from entry-level housing all the way up to executive properties. Many people relocate to this neighbourhood due to its close proximity to Highway 403 which provides quick access for commuters.

 

AREA SCHOOLS: 
Branlyn Elementary School 
Banbury Heights Elementray School 
Notre Dame Catholic Elementary School 
North Park Collegiate Institute (Secondary School)
CHECK AREA SCHOOL RANKINGS

AREA DAY CARE :
Three Bears Day Care

AREA SHOPPING :
Lynden Park Mall

AREA RESTAURANTS :
The Keg
Swiss Chalet
Kelsey's
Speekezies Cafe and Wine Bar 
Kings Buffet
Tito's Pizza

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May 2, 2019

Curb Appeal & Real Estate

Even though the weather has not been as co-operative as we may like, it is technically Spring and time to think about getting your property ready to enjoy for summer.

Curb appeal is a very important aspect of real estate. Even if you don’t plan to sell your home, doing a few minor updates and changes at the front of your property will increase your street appeal dramatically. Not only will your property be more appealing, but small changes can increase your personal enjoyment of your yard and home.

Curb Appeal

Simple updates such as painting your front door an accent colour and installing a stone or gravel walkway, will invite your guests toward your home and front porch. Creating symmetry for the eye is easily accomplished by flanking your front door with matching light fixtures. Place matching bold planters with colourful flowers and hanging plants on either side of your front door or steps to enhance visual appeal.

If space permits, place a colourful outdoor carpet on the front porch that will serve as an anchor for any furniture set out to encourage visitors a resting place prior to entering your home. It is important to be mindful not to use colours or patterns that will conflict with the exterior pallet of your home. For instance, clay coloured brick doesn’t match well with light pink or purple flowers. In this situation complimentary hues such as yellow, orange and red will blend nicely with a clay brick exterior.

There are many inexpensive options to improve Street Appeal, including installing a meandering, or direct pathway to your front door. Lining the walkway with electric or solar lights will ensure safety in the evenings, but also introduce a soft glow to your front walkway and yard.

To add interest, install a free standing mailbox at the edge of your property that reflects a personal interest, or use anything that melds well with the theme and look of your front yard. To ground the free standing mailbox, plant varying height flowers, hostas and ferns, or allow a climbing vine to make your new mailbox seem as though it has been part of the landscape for many years.

Window boxes are another opportunity to highlight and feature your favourite flowers in Spring and Summer and evergreens for the winter months. It can be fun to follow the changing seasons by changing out the plantings each quarter.

Arbors, garden gates and fences provide potential for self-expression and creating garden interest. Installing and outdoor water feature will not only provide “white noise” for your yard, but will also attract wild life and birds.

Finally, if the style of your home permits, shutters and accent trim are an excellent way to make a bold visual statement at the front of your house. You don’t have to be a gardening expert or a qualified tradesman to make some minor changes that not only creates street appeal, but increases the value of your property as a reward for your labour.

 

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